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The Sound of the Sundial

by Hana Andronikova

The Sound of the Sundial is the internationally acclaimed novel by Czech sensation Hana Andronikova, told over the course of a single day and night, but spanning three continents and much of the twentieth century. In this intimate and affecting love story about a Jewish teacher and a German-Czech builder, Andronikova sends her readers on a captivating journey through time and memory, from the Czech town of Zlín in the 1920s to Calcutta in the 1930s, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz during World War II, Toronto in the decades afterward, and finally into modern-day Colorado. It is at once a deeply personal narrative and an homage to the lost relationship of the Czech, German, and Jewish peoples. In 2002, The Sound of the Sundial received the Czech Republic’s prestigious Magnesia Litera Award in the category of Best New Discovery, just a few years before its young author died. It is making its world premiere appearance in English here.

About the Author

About the Translator

Born in Zlín, Czech Republic in 1967, Hana Andronikova studied English and Czech literature at Charles University in Prague. She turned to writing full time after many years of working in the corporate financial sector, and won instant acclaim for her first novel, The Sound of the Sundial (Knižní klub, 2001) receiving the Czech Book Club Literary Award and the Magnesia Litera Award for Best New Discovery in 2002. Her book of short stories, Heart on a Hook (Petrov, 2002), cemented her national literary reputation, and in 2007 she was sponsored by the U.S. State Department to attend the International Writing Program at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was particularly noted for her use of time as a structural element in the narrative, and her skill at conveying intimate and dramatic moments using terse sentences and fragments. She was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after her return home. Her book Heaven Has No Ground (Odeon, 2010) is a personal chronicle of her fight with illness and the looming possibility of death. For this work, she won the Magnesia Litera again in 2011, but lost the battle for her life at the end of that same year. She was 44 years old.

David Short graduated with a BA in Russian with French from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 1965 and spent 1966-72 in Prague studying, working, and translating. He taught Czech and Slovak at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London from 1973 to 2011. Among his literary publications are Bohumil Hrabal: Pirrouets on a Postage Stamp. (Prague: Karolinum, 2008) and Vítězslav Nezval: Valerie and her Week of Wonders (Prague: Twisted Spoon Press & Jepp Press, 2005) He has translated a wide range of literary and academic texts and has won awards both for translations and for his contribution to Czech and Slovak studies. In 2004 he was awarded the Czech Minister of Culture’s Artis Bohemicae Amicis medal and the medal of the Comenius University in Bratislava. 

David Vaughan - Radio Prague
"One of the most important books to appear in the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism."
Boyd Tonkin - The Independent
"I would love to see a translation of Hana Andronikova' Sound of the Sundia... But who will dare to pen that door?"
Prague Writer's Festival
"A mature, cultivated, and intensely readable book."
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